Detroit a tech hub? You bet

Information courtesy of JLL.

Information courtesy of JLL.

by Dan Rafter

When you think of tech hubs, what comes to mind? Silicon Valley, right? Maybe New York City?

But what about Detroit?

You might be surprised to learn that Detroit has become a top target for tech start-ups. JLL in its U.S. Technology Office Outlook report ranked the city as among the top 30 in the nation for total tech leasing.

What makes Detroit so appealing for tech firms? JLL pointed to low real estate costs, an affordable cost of living and a competitive pool of talented employees. These factors are inspiring technology start-ups to open their doors in the Motor City.

According to JLL’s research, the Detroit market is now supporting 50,796 tech jobs. JLL says, too, that Detroit’s high-tech employment rate is growing 4.3 percent each year.

The Detroit market has been home to some significant tech lease transactions. Griffels recently renewed its lease of 67,934 square feet in the Mars Corporate Center in Southfield, while Logicalis took out a 40,500-square-foot lease at 2600 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills. Lochbridge recently took out a 29,000-square-foot lease at 150 W. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit’s CBD.

This is just the latest piece of good news for Detroit. Yes, the city is still struggling. But there have been plenty of positive signs as of late. Young people are moving into apartment units in the heart of the city again. And many of them are the same ones who are filling the tech jobs in the city.

At the same time, investors have discovered that Detroit is a good place to find affordable commercial real estate. Because of this, the city is again attracting investment dollars.

The future, then, looks brighter in Detroit. Tech is a big reason.

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